Champagne’s decline slowing across UK hospitality sector

Sales of Champagne continue to fall in the UK on-trade, although there is evidence of growing premiumisation in the category, according to market analyst CGA Strategy.

In the 12 months to 20 April 2019, sales of Champagne (volume 9lr cases), decreased by -6% in the UK hospitality sector, while in the same period value sales only decreased by -0.9%.

However, between 2017 and 2018, volume sales of Champagne decreased by over -13%.

“Our data suggests there may be some further premiumisation occurring when drinkers are purchasing Champagne,” said Mark Newton, Senior Partnership Development Manager, CGA Strategy.

“Volume and value declines are showing signs of slowing to a degree – helped by a more positive performance from Rose Champagne (albeit from a relatively small base) – and potential shoots of optimism can also be seen in sales over-indexing against total GB trends in sectors such as more premium dry/ food led pubs, bars and restaurants,” he added.

Globally, Champagne appears to be on an unstoppable march: the category’s global turnover set a new record in 2018, hitting close to 4.9 billion euros, according to data released by the Comité Champagne.

Yet the UK, which remains the biggest export market by volume, imported 26.7m bottles in 2018, a decline of 3.6%, while value reached €406.2m, a drop of 2.2%. This fall in demand has become an established trend, as Champagne finds itself competing in an increasingly crowded UK marketplace.

“Overall, Champagne continues to struggle against the relentless competition from sparkling wine – still primarily Prosecco,” said Newton.

Jeroboam’s Wine Director Peter Mitchell MW said he believed the Champagne market was becoming more polarised – supporting CGA’s data – with deluxe cuvées outperforming all other categories.

“Our sales of prestige cuvées have been growing in recent times – it is becoming the most important segment,” said Mitchell MW.

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